Author: Kurt Helin

New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings

Good news for Pelicans: Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson all healthy, working out


The Pelicans were ravaged by injuries last season: Jrue Holiday played 34 games, Ryan Anderson 22, Eric Gordon 64, and even Anthony Davis missed 15 games.

This season, if they can stay healthy the Pelicans are a playoff team in the West.

Which is why this note from GM Dell Demps, via Nakia Hogan of the Times-Picayune, is a good sign.

The Pelicans are a team on the rise that had a great off-season. They have the fastest rising star in the NBA in Anthony Davis, a guy primed to breakout into the public consciousness using Team USA this summer as the springboard. Within a couple years he’ll be the third best player in the NBA.

But New Orleans needed a real center to pair with him, so they went and got Omer Asik from the Rockets during Houston’s “clear out the cap space” sale. He is a perfect fit next to Davis and may give New Orleans the best defensive front line in the NBA. Then they can bring Anderson, one of the game’s best stretch fours, off the bench (Davis and Anderson had crazy good +/- numbers when paired last season).

Then if the Holiday/Gordon backcourt steps up and Tyreke Evans can give them anything, you’ve really got something.

Something that will start with a trip to the playoffs next season.

Derrick Rose sits out another Team USA practice, not likely to start Wednesday

Derrick Rose

For the second day in a row, Derrick Rose sat out a Team USA practice. He got up a few shots after practice but did not run through drills.

For the second day in a row everyone says he is fine, it is just precautionary. There’s no reason to think otherwise and there is certainly no reason to push him hard for summer practices and exhibition games.

Speaking of those FIBA World Cup tune up games, the USA has one Wednesday night and Rose, who started against Brazil, may not against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden, reports John Schuhmann of

Nothing to see here, move along.

Although after the last couple years, we’ll be keeping a closer eye on Rose as he goes forward into the season.

Tom Thibodeau is going to have to get his star some in season rest this year, a few days off. That’s not usually his style, but times they are a changin’.

Tim Leiweke denies report he’s on way out of organization that owns Raptors

Masai Uriji; Drake; Tim Leiweke

Tim Leiweke is the reason the All-Star Game is coming to Toronto in 2016. He is a big idea executive with great ties to the NBA league office (from his days getting Staples Center built in Los Angeles) and right now he is overseeing a revival of Raptors basketball (as the president of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment which owns the team as well as the NHL’s Maple Leafs).

Tuesday morning rumors surfaced that Leiweke is about to leave MLSE, as reported by the according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman. The rumor is he wants to come back to Los Angeles and run the Clippers for new owner Steve Ballmer, or to jump to an NFL team.

Quickly the denials came, although the fantastic Bruce Arthur provides some perspective (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

Let me just say as someone in Los Angeles who loves the city of Toronto — I get the winter thing. Not sure I would last through one without bolting. You are all tougher than me.

And I wouldn’t be shocked if this happened. Eventually. If his family wants to return to L.A. and there’s a path, he may take it. But it sounds like he plans to ride out this season at least, and if he stuck around through the 2016 All-Star Game it wouldn’t be a shock.

It’s official, after 39 seasons NBA referee Dick Bavetta retires

Dick Bavetta

The NBA tried to push Dick Bavetta out the door starting a few years back, but he was going to leave on his own terms.

Age 74 seemed about the right time.

Bavetta is officially stepping away after 39 seasons as an official, the NBA announced Tuesday, something that had been reported a while ago.

“Dick’s dedication and commitment to his craft has been an inspiration to all NBA officials,” said NBA President, Basketball Operations Rod Thorn in a statement. “We are grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement.”

“On behalf of myself and the entire Bavetta family, I would like to thank the NBA family and the National Basketball Referee Association for allowing me the honor and the privilege of representing them for 39 wonderful years,” said Bavetta in his statement. “I am most proud of never having missed an assigned game, be it exhibition, regular season or playoffs, throughout my entire career. It really has been a great run.”

I can list Bavetta’s achievements: 2,635 consecutive regular season games officiated, 270 Playoff games including 27 Finals games, three NBA All-Star Games (1989, 1995 and 2006) and he was the first NBA referee selected to officiate the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.

But really, what you remember him for is racing Charles Barkley.

It was time for this, but Bavetta was part of the personality of the NBA. He will be missed.

DeMarcus Cousins practices with team USA Tuesday, says he’s 50-50 for Wednesday game

Team USA Showcase

When DeMarcus Cousins and Kenneth Faried banged knees in Chicago, all of USA Basketball held its breath. As did a couple GMs. The program didn’t need another serious injury to a rising young NBA star.

Fortunately it turned out not to be much. Cousins sat out the USA’s exhibition win over Brazil Saturday and a couple days of practice, but he was back at it full speed on Tuesday practicing with the team in New York, reports John Schuhmann of This was a short practice but included a scrimmage.

Cousins is expected to play Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden when Team USA takes on the Dominican Republic (without Al Horford) in a FIBA World Cup tune up, however Cousins downplayed his chances, reports Chris Sheridan.

If you want more proof Cousins was out practicing…

One other note: Derrick Rose did not go through a full practice on Tuesday and he may not start on Wednesday night. When he missed Tuesday’s practice it was deemed precautionary, and that may still be going on here, but this is something to watch.